Royal Brackla 14, 1998 (G&M for Binny’s)

This review comes to you despite the sordid machinations of Michael Kravitz. You see, many years ago, Florin (the original Fresh Prince of Bel Air) asked him to pass a sample on to me when we met for lunch in Los Angeles but what did Michael Kravitz do? Yes, he stole it. Now this will not surprise most of you who have been aware of the content of his character for a while now but it surprised and—I’m not unwilling to say it—shocked me when I found out about it. For I am by nature a trusting person who likes to believe in the best everyone can be. And even though Michael Kravitz looks a shifty type, I have never believed in judging a book by its cover. But now that I have read the dossier that a number of you have compiled of his various malfeasances over the years, I am forced to look the ugly truth in the eye. But enough negativity! Michael Kravitz stole my sample and gave it a bad review; but Florin sent me another anyway and I am here to set the record straight. Continue reading


Royal Brackla 16, 1993 (Signatory CS)

I know nothing about the Royal Brackla distillery except that it is in the Speyside, is owned by Diageo Dewars and is one of very few distilleries that are allowed to use the “Royal” appellation in their name (the others, I believe, are Lochnagar and the now-defunct Glenury, but there may be more that I am forgetting). Its output is mostly fodder for blends, and when available as a single malt, is usually competitively priced. I was interested in this bottling because Binny’s has it discounted quite severely as part of their Spring 2013 sale. Luckily, a friend bought a bottle on spec, liked it and was willing to swap a sample. And so here I am.

This bottling is by Signatory, who, along with Gordon & Macphail, are probably the most ubiquitous of the independents available in the US. This is a cask strength bottling, but not from one of those sexy, expensive decanters that their regular CS range come in: this was bottled especially for Binny’s in a regular bottle with a hideous gold label, as is usual for all their Binny’s bottlings. But what counts is what’s in the bottle. Read on.

Continue reading